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Arthrex Readies Plant for Summer Production

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For Andy Owen, Arthrex's director of manufacturing, the company's new facility in Ave Maria isn't all about how many orthopedic and surgical implant devices can be produced in the 200,000-square-foot plant – it's also about the 250 people who will be working to produce them. Above, Mr. Owen in what will be one of the main assembly areas of the facility.

"Arthrex is employee focused – we do things to a different standard," he said, pointing out at the start of a recent tour of the facility for The Ave Herald how bright and open much of the interior is. "Not dark like a typical manufacturing facility," he said.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a manufacturing facility like it anywhere in the world."

arth4-400Workers are going through the final checklists and beginning to install equipment, Mr. Owen said, anticipating that production would start in early July and gradually work up to full capacity by late August.

Before showing the clean rooms and large manufacturing areas, Mr. Owen proudly took his visitors through the kitchen and cafeteria, where he said the "hotel quality" kitchen will serve a free lunch to all employees every day. Right, the screened outdoor dining area. Below left, the inside dining room.

arth5-400The Ave Maria plant will be Arthrex's largest manufacturing facility in southwest Florida. The company will continue to operate a 100,000-square-foot plant in North Naples but will locate all of its "clean room" capability in Ave Maria, where there are two 8,000-square-foot clean rooms that he said cost $2.5 million each and which will have "hospital operating room level cleanliness." Below right, the entrance to a clean room.

The facility also has training rooms where Mr. Owen said Arthrex will offer a four-year program to train machinists, part of a project it started in Naples, where the first class of graduates will receive their certification as first-class machinists in January.

arth3-400Hiring has begun for jobs at the Ave Maria plant, and openings are listed on the Arthrex website here.

Arthrex has announced plans for another 120,000-square-foot building in Ave Maria, but Mr. Owen said that plans for that are still in the early stages and that construction would not start for at least a year.

The company's expansion in Ave Maria is part of company founder and CEO Reinhold Schmieding's commitment to Collier County and southwest Florida, Mr. Owen said.

"He could have literally saved millions of dollars locating this facility in some place like South Carolina. But he wants to do it here." 
Below, another of the assembly rooms. 

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